In an attempt to prevent 26/11-like attacks, the Indian Navy will induct 80 fast interceptor craft (FIC). The navy has signed a deal with a Sri Lankan shipyard company for the purpose. The FIC will enable the 1,000-strong Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB), created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, to enhance patrolling and interception operations.
"There has been an increase of about 70 per cent in naval shop deployment and a 100 per cent jump in aircraft deployments towards coastal security tasking after 26/11. With the induction of these additional FIC, efficiency of Sagar Prahari Bal would be enhanced," said navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma.
"To further improve the capability of India's coastal security, a case for phase-2 of coastal security augmentation has been initiated. Under this initiative, additional assets, patrol vessels, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, special forces, manpower and forward operation basis have been proposed,'' said Admiral Verma.
According to Indian Navy, these fast interceptor boats have a maximum speed of 50 nautical miles per hour. These would be used by the navy to intercept suspicious boats along the coasts. They will also be used for preventing crimes such as poaching and smuggling, apart from counter-terror operations.
The navy chief expressed his concern on the issue of Chinese submarines with long-range missiles. But he added that the Indian Navy is looking at upgrading its fleet.
"Navy is looking at a fleet of 150 ships and 500 aircraft by 2025, which will include helicopters, maritime reconnaissance aircraft and fighters," said Admiral Verma. Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh is being considered for raising an amphibious training facility, he said.
The admiral attributed the delays in the launch of indigenous aircraft carrier to shortage of critical equipment. (Source: Daily News and Analysis)